In a night where Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak carried the Knicks to a win over the defending champions, Ersan Illyasova had 29 points and 25 rebounds, the NBA still had more in store for us.
The nightcap on national TV featured the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Denver Nuggets. History was made in Oklahoma City, in one of the best games this season.
Tonight’s game featured the first time in NBA history that a team had a player score 50+, another score 40, and another have a triple double.
Still, the Nuggets stayed in it, having a five point lead with under a minute to go in regulation. Durant hit a three, then dunked with 4.4 seconds to go to put the game into overtime. Ibaka added his 11th block in overtime as the Thunder pulled out the 124-118 win.
Kevin Durant- A++ 51pts/8reb/3ast/4stl
Kevin Durant had one of the best games in his young career. Scoring a career high 51 points, he led the Thunder through a tough overtime contest with a West contender. He shot an incredible 68% and made five of six three pointers. Durant showed why he is a top contender for the MVP tonight.
Russell Westbrook- A 40pts/4reb/9ast
After a rocky start, Westbrook followed Durant’s lead and shot lights out in the second half, scoring 27 of his 40 points. Down 13 with 1:31 to go in the first half, Westbrook scored 10 points as the Thunder went on a 20-0 run, taking a 65-58 lead in the third quarter. His three, 23 seconds into overtime, gave the Thunder the lead for good.
Serge Ibaka- A+ 14pts/15reb/11blk
Ibaka was a monster in the paint. His 11 blocks secured the paint for the Thunder, who struggled defending the perimeter. Along with his blocks, eight offensive rebounds gave the Thunder key second chance points late in the game. The future looks bright for Serge Ibaka, as he gets his third ten block game this month, and his first career triple double.
Kendrick Perkins- C- 0pts/4reb/1ast
In 21 minutes, Perkins really didn’t do much. He attempted one shot, and had three turnovers. In games against faster and smaller teams, Perkins has struggled to make an impact. With Ibaka surging, Perkins will have to pick up his play to get more playing time when the Thunder go small.
Daequan Cook- D 2pts/4reb/1stl
Cook hasn’t made a three pointer in his past three games, going 0-9. It may just be a cold streak for the three point specialist, but the Thunder should start to get a little worried if Cook can’t produce during Thabo Sefolosha’s absence.
James Harden- D 10pts/4reb/6ast
It has become a trend for Harden to struggle on national television. After having a huge game against the Warriors, Harden struggled to find the bottom of the net, shooting 16.7% (2-12). Luckily for him, Durant, Westbrook, and Ibaka overshadowed his performance, with historic nights.
Rest of the Thunder- C+
Nick Collison was the only other Thunder to play quality minutes, scoring just three points. The non-Harden bench scored just seven points, not making much of a difference in this contest. The Thunder struggled while Durant and Westbrook were on the bench, letting Andre Miller and Aaron Afflalo score at will.